Jeffrey Fashion Cares 2013

I’ve been busting my butt working on a gangsta movie these past two weeks, but I got to take a little break from running around the city buying Hanes t-shirts to volunteer for the charity event of the year, Jeffrey Fashion Cares. It’s a night of mingling, bidding on silent auction items and the hot haut couture fashion show.

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JFC raises money for four different charities to help improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ community. The Hetrick-Martin Institute provides a safe and supportive environment for young people and their families. Lambda Legal tackles outdated and not-so-civil rights of this community ranging from marriage to parenting to health care. The AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA)…well it does just what its’ name says. Not only do they test the newest HIV therapies, they also provide information on HIV to disadvantaged communities worldwide. Lastly, the Point Foundation, this charity provides scholarships and more to outstanding LGBT students.

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My role in this event was to help out for the fashion show – the usual tasks like setting up hair and makeup, catering, dressing room and the collection. Since the runway would be the last part of the evening, I was free to join the paying attendees after setting up. Good thing I wore a semi-respectable dress and heels because I was rubbing elbows with Emmy Rossum, Cyndi Lauper, Ireland Baldwin and Cat Greenleaf. The event was held on the giant, war ship, Intrepid, so I enjoyed my cosmos and delicious hors d’oeuvres surrounded by space shuttles.

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Don’t you love my gaffer’s tape belt?

Reluctantly, I had to step away from the tiny cupcakes to get back to work. One very notable difference between JCF and Fashion Week was that walking the runway would be all male models. Let me repeat that, ALL MALE MODELS. And not skinny 18 year olds. Strong, manly men with six-packs and devilish smiles. So, I decided my skills would be best allocated in the dressing room “helping” undress and dress them. They are just as comfortable dressing in a room full of people as the female models, but more so, in that they play it up for the camera. It was a fun time…

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You're welcome, America.

You’re welcome, America.

Have I embarrassed my dad (or myself) enough yet?

In the end, they raised $800,000 that night, 97% of it going straight to the charities, so by oogling the eye candy all night, I helped contribute.

xo ZZ

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Watch out Calvin, here I come!

Since I was little, I dreamed of being a fashion designer. I spent hours sketching in my notebooks clothing I dreamed of making – for myself, and sometimes for my dolls. As I grew older it became less and less of an attainable dream career (or at least that’s what I thought) so I put it on the back burner. Going into college, I thought choosing to get a degree in fashion design was unrealistic…so instead I chose to live at Disney World for the 5 next years. Because that’s real life.

But now that I’m in New York I can’t get away from it. I get inspiration from women walking down the street, seeing the huge array of ideas on the runway at Fashion Week, the street style waiting outside, and even from the architecture on 77th street and Madison.

If I’m going to become the next McQueen, Wang, or de la Renta, I’ve got to start somewhere. And that somewhere for me learning to sew. So I found the Sewing Studio and signed up for their Intro Bootcamp. It’s a weeklong course, 3 hours a day where you learn how to use a machine, different types of stitches, how to follow a pattern, and all the other beginner necessities.

The first day we learned how to set up our sewing machines and practiced some stitches on muslin. Sounds silly, but I was pretty psyched to see that I had sewn two things together, and not by hand.

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The next day, using actually fabric we made a drawstring pouch. It looks simple enough, but it was actually way more gauging, pressing, and sewing that I thought. So I’m pretty impressed with myself that I finished it. Obviously, my standards are low.

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The final product…

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Who needs a shoe holder, laundry bag or toiletries case??? I think i’ll be able to recreate this on my own.

xo ZZ

Venturing Out

Living on this tiny island of endless possibilities, I feel like I’ll never get to see everything it has to offer. Wrapping my brain around the fact that it’s just a sliver of “New York City” is almost impossible. I’ve only gone about 6 stops into Brooklyn, 2 into Hoboken, and to the airport in Queens. Our newly engaged (YAY Teddy!) friends  are moving to Queens soon, so we ventured out to Jackson Heights to check out where they’d be living. It’s a whole other planet over there. There’s no resemblance of being in NYC, yet you’re only a 30 minute train ride away.

Museum of the Moving Image

While there, we made a stop at the Museum of the Moving Image – an entire place devoted to the art of film, television and digital media. The ongoing exhibition, “Behind the Screen” takes you from conception through presentation of a moving image.This exhibit covers it all from costumes, sound recording equipment, and merchandise. You can see the first type of optical toy and the present day cameras. They have a room showing the metamorphosis of the television set.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

But my favorite part was the rooms that let you be hands on in the making and editing process. In one room you could choose a scene from a movie, then record the lines in your own voice (though we chose to change the lines a bit). In another, you can make your own short animation movie, obviously a calling I missed. The sound effects room lets you choose what effect for the roar of a Jurassic Park dinosaur… so I chose a kitten’s meow. It sure makes that movie less scary.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

After a hard day of movie editing, we spent some couch time watching SpiderMan in our retro living room, cow hide cushions covered in plastic, of course.

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of the Moving Image

Then we rode off into the sunset.

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The End. ZZ

 

Food Porn

It’s been a busy busy past few weeks, with many visitors. Having guests in town means eating a LOT.  We mostly spend our time getting one from one restaurant to the next. It’s also a great excuse to get to those restaurants I’ve been wanting to try out. Like Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem. I’ve been to its’ fancier (and slightly pretentious) neighbor, Red Rooster, which has an Ethiopian/Swedish flare on American comfort food, but wanted to try the simpler version. Even though I’m from the south, our dinner table never had collard greens, fried chicken, or okra.

Just perusing the menu, I wanted to try EVERYTHING. So, naturally, being me, I made sure our table covered all bases and ordered almost one of everything (two of some dishes).

Once the food arrived, our conversation was solely on what we were eating. I might not have seen these friends in months, but I did not give two cornbreads worth what they had been up to once that food was on the table.

This is what we sounded like:

Me: Holy %$@#^ $^%#@ #$*&% this is soooo good! 

Friend 1: Yes, this is delicious. 

Friend 2: Ugh, try this one, it’s amazing! 

Friend 3: This is the best corn bread I’ve ever had. 

Me: bltrjsisue gskjhgSeu (me trying to say how good something was with a mouthful).

Friend 4: %$# &^! &!%* @$% Foooooooooooddddd!!!!

(An hour later)

Friend 5: I think is the only meal I’ve ever had where all we did was talk about the food.

Friend 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: I could not possibly eat another bite.

Me (to waitress): We’ll take one of each dessert, please.

Sylvias Soul Food Harlem

Our Before Picture

Unlimited Corn Bread

Unlimited Corn Bread

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Grilled Atlantic Bar-B-Que Salmon, Vegetarian Collard Greens, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Grilled Atlantic Bar-B-Que Salmon, Vegetarian Collard Greens, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sylvia's Down Home Smothered Chicken

Sylvia’s Down Home Smothered Pork Chops

Sylvias Soul Food Harlem

Baked Mac n Cheese and more Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sylvias Soul Food Harlem

After dinner, our clothes all a little tighter.

After dinner, our clothes all a little tighter.

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

Southern Style Banana Pudding

Southern Style Banana Pudding

There were also two orders of Peach Cobbler that were eaten before I could get a picture.

I’m drooling all over the computer while writing this, that’s how delicious Sylvia’s is. I wasn’t even a fan of collard greens, salmon, or corn bread before coming here, now it’s all I can think about. I can’t wait until the next visitors so I’ll have a good excuse to binge on mac n cheese again.

I guess I could mention about something other than the food. It’s a no-fuss, down to earth place. Though constantly busy, the wait isn’t very long. Very southern hospitality in the middle of a ‘not always hospitable’ city. The chef walked around often and was more than happy to refill our drinks. And our waitress, Tweety, was as sweet as her name.

I can’t wait to go again for the Sunday Gospel Brunch.

Hallelujah – ZZ

Weed World Van NYC

(*To preface this – grandparents, parents, current and future employees, I do not use illegal drugs.) 

This weekend we had a friend in town who had a pretty crappy birthday a few weeks ago, so we decided to throw him an impromptu belated party. Hilarie and I snuck away to find balloons, dessert, and a present. This friend enjoys the occasional puff of the magic dragon, so we got a brilliant idea.

Every day on the way home from work, I pass by ‘Weed World Candies’. It’s a bright green van covered in marijuana plants, with a guy selling “weed lollipops” out the window.  They claim there is a small amount of THC in them, enough to give you a buzz, and not be illegal. I’m not really sure how that works, it’s possible, probable, they are selling regular lollipops for $5 each.*

Anyways, Hilarie and I got the idea to go find the Weed Man, and get our friend some lollipops. We’re probably the two worst people in the world to go out on a search for illegal drugs. Two sweet, nicely dressed, hair done, southern gals. One of us has never tried it, and the other…well, she’s wearing a cat sweater right now. We went to the spot on 7th Ave. where I usually see him, but he wasn’t there. Then we went to Union Square keeping our eyes peeled for the not-so-subtle vehicle. Finally, we just started saying “weed” really loud.

We were able to find his number online, so Hilarie called him, and said, “Hello? Where are you tonight? We are looking to purchase some marijuana lollipops” in her sweet, southern twang. (Okay, so maybe she didn’t say that exactly). That approach didn’t elicit a response to his location, so I tried a different way.

I texted him, using as many abbreviations as I could.

Whr can I get that candy I at un sq u close

(Where can I get that candy, I’m at union square, are you close?)

It’s harder than it looks to channel improper grammar and slang. But he did respond ‘yea’. When I asked what corner he was on, I never got a response.

We finally had to give up our adventure of ‘gettin’ that candy, man’ and went home empty handed.

Update: I’ve done some more research on these ‘weed pops’ and they are ‘hemp-flavored lollipops’ and mostly a political movement. The are making a killing off confused buyers thinking they are actually buying marijuana out in the open. Check out this video, from Animal NY who spent a day with them.

My No-Pants-Plan

I did it! It only took 48 hours, but I watched an entire season of The Office in a row, without leaving my bed (hence, no blogs). I know, making my parents proud. Most of that time I was also pantless. Why pantless you ask? First of all, why not?! Second, it’s hot as blazes in this apartment. Third, and most importantly, in the event of a fire or emergency I only have enough time to put on one article of clothing.

I can’t count the amount of times the fire alarm went off in the dorms in Cincinnati, and I would spend from 2:30am-3:30am outside with the rest of my classmates, wearing a trenchcoat, tiny pajama shorts and Uggs (in the middle of winter). Not a good look, also very cold.

My plan for getting the cats out if there’s a fire is emptying my laundry basket on the floor, throwing them both in there, putting the lid on. Done. Not enough time to convince them to get into their cages, much less put their cages together.

Always be prepared.

I’ve been treating Memorial Day Weekend like Memorial Day Week. But I finally got off my tooshie yesterday to work on wedding stuff with brother. I can’t reveal too much, but it involved searching for hours and hours in the jewelry district for a specific “finding” to be a present for the groomsman. The jewelry district is ridiculous. What looks like a regular store front from the outside, is actually endless counters of individual companies, all who want to sell you something. From the moment you walk in, as you walk by each seller, they try to grab you by saying “what are you looking for, oh I have that”. They never had what we needed, but since they sucked us in, they may as well try to sell us a $500 diamond necklace while we’re there.

We even got suckered in by (by we I mean Peter) by a guy on the street who walked us to the end of the block, took us into a building, to the top floor, into a locked entryway, then into a store filled with watches covering the walls from floor to ceiling, all sparkling with diamonds. Even on the way there are the other store vendors were saying “leave them alone” as we walked by with him, but I guess that wasn’t a big enough clue to us.

After 3 hours, we finally got the hang of it. Don’t make eye contact. Most of the findings sellers were in the very back of the stores, so don’t stop for anyone until you reach the back and read the signs yourself. Also, confidence. All of the findings places were wholesale only, but if you didnt ask too many questions, and knew what you were looking for, it would work. I did get sucked into one women when I asked if she had a single drop CZ necklace. She said she did – she didn’t. But she said she could make one out of a stud earring, add a loop on it, then sell me a chain with it, all for $45. She called be beautiful and nice about 20 times, asked all about my personal life, the wedding, finally I told her Peter was calling me to the back of the store and I’d be right back.

I ended up buying exactly what I wanted back there, and without the women having to attempt to make it, I did have to negotiate a little to get the price down. He even made me feel bad by saying “what? you want the shirt off my back?” so I said yes “I’ll do it for $45, no tax, and your shirt please”.

I knew on the way out I would have to pass by that woman, who greeted me with, “Where did you go, I’ve been waiting for you <insert sad face here>”. I stopped and thanked her for all her help, then she tried to make me feel bad by saying “I was going to give it to you for $25.”

Well shit. She was probably lying. She looked a lot like the witch with the apple in Snow White, so who knows. Never take an apple, even covered with diamonds, from a witch.

We did meet the sweetest old man though who made the whole trip worth it. He told us his life story, how he made jewelry for Andy Warhol, all about his grandkids, how pretty we were, how Peter was going to come back when he was a famous producer, and then ended up giving Peter free jewelry. I wanted to leap across the counter and hug him, but I restrained myself.

I can’t show you the final results, but I’ll do a whole post about it after the wedding.

Have a great weekend!

ZZ